Remember my favorite pairing? It’s pizza and hard cider and COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down our pizza making. In fact, we may be making pizza even more often and that has definitely started pushing our creativity. I’ve been getting more innovative with my sourdough pizza crusts. For example, I have a basil infused sourdough crust and a chocolate crust ready. Yes, chocolate and there is a good chance we won’t be using it for a dessert pizza. We’ve come up with a couple of savory options as well as dessert options to try. Look for a future post on those. My wife has also been getting very creative with her toppings.
We actually just had our first post-isolation pizza party. Well, we are calling it a party even if it was just one friend with whom I work. Since we both had to start reporting back into our office and we both take social distancing seriously, we decided to enjoy some company recently and invited him for some pizza and hard cider. We still served with gloves and maintained 6+ feet of spacing when eating and talking.
I thought I’d share my sourdough crust recipe again. It’s an easy recipe to make and adjust. I often add 1/4 of multigrain with a tablespoon of molasses or some dried herbs or spices. Like Adjunct hard cider, the flavors are endless.
Sourdough Pizza Dough
Servings: 10 Inch Pizza
- 210-230 Grams Sourdough Starter
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup Organic All-Purpose Flour
- Water as Required
- Mix starter, oil, salt, and flour in a large mixing bowl by hand.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes. If too dry, add teaspoon of water. This dough should be relatively dry.
- Cover and let set for 1 hour.
- Use or freeze. If freezing, set the dough in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use it and on the counter 1-2 hours before you use it.
Here is a list of the last 4 pizzas that we have made as well as the hard ciders we paired with them.
Smoked Mozzarella & Sausage:
- Brown Multigrain Sourdough
- Roasted Red Pepper
- Roasted Fennel
- Smoked Mozzarella
- Italian Sausage
- Mozzarella Slices
- Cracked Pepper
I used my multigrain sourdough again. As before, I included a tablespoon of organic molasses and 1/8 cup millet and 1/8 cup amaranth that I presoaked in 1/4 cup of hot water before draining. The dough has more chew and texture and we thought it paired well with the smokey cheese, roasted red pepper, and roasted fennel. It all combined to provide a hearty, earthy pizza. We went with Arkansas Black from the Botanist & Barrel’s Heritage Series. Like most of their ciders, there was a sour note lingering in the background. It wasn’t overpowering. It was just enough to give it some interest. I was surprised by the color. I get a lot more amber in my Arkansas Black hard cider, Black Magic. This was a nice hearty dinner with lots of smokey and sour notes.
- Plum BBQ Sauce
- Hawaiian Chicken with Red Peppers and Pineapple
- Jalapeños, Candied
- Mozzarella, Shredded
My wife made a Hawaiian chicken dinner, which reminded us of a combination for a great pizza. We love BBQ chicken pizza and we love Hawaiian pizza (pineapple and ham on a BBQ sauce) so why not a Hawaiian Chicken pizza. We used a homemade plum BBQ sauce for added depth. That was combined with a crockpot cooked Hawaiian chicken with red peppers and fresh pineapple. To add some heat, we included some candied jalapeños, a condiment for everything in our house. We added a thick layer of fresh grated mozzarella and topped with fresh basil. You get some sweet and heat from the plum, pineapple, and jalapeños while the chicken and cheese give you great flavor and balance. We paired this with my Cider of the Gods hard cider. Cider of the Gods is a hard cider based on Ambrosia and GoldRush apples with SafAle S-04 yeast. Ambrosia apples are what I consider a modern Sweet cider apple. They have exceptional aromas. With a good amount of carbonation and a touch of tannins and acid from the GoldRush, it’s a great cider for this sweet and spicy pizza.
Thai Chicken Curry:
- Sriracha Sauce
- Chicken Curry with Potatoes & Roasted Red Peppers
- Mozzarella Shredded
I wanted a wine like hard cider to go with this Thai Chicken Curry pizza. I wanted something light in tannins but with a good level of carbonation and a nice acidic back note. Since a friend was attending that hadn’t tried my oaked hard ciders, I had to go with ‘En Chêne. Well, I actually popped an ‘En Chêne and an ‘Oaked hard cider for him but my initial plan was ‘En Chêne. The pizza used a standard dough with some sriracha sauce as the base. We added the Thai chicken curry with potatoes and roasted red peppers. Shredded mozzarella covered that and we topped it with some crushed peanuts, basil, cilantro, and a squeeze of sriracha again. It has a nice level of spice that paired well with some of the vanilla notes in the hard cider. The hard cider did a great job of clearing the palate with both carbonation and acid.
- Garlic Butter
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes
- Cooked Bacon, Pieces
- Pepper Jack Cheese, Grated
- Mozzarella, Grated
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
I used my standard sourdough for the crust and just added some garlic butter. On that we layered some garlic roasted potatoes and small pieces of crisp bacon. Next, we piled on the pepper jack cheese followed by a touch of mozzarella. For the eggs, I make a small well in the cheese and crack them into this area. I usually pop the yoke but I don’t spread it around. We give it a nice dusting of freshly ground pepper and bake it until the eggs are set. That is usually 2-3 minutes more than a lot of my pizzas, which are around 8 minutes. Besides ensuring the eggs are cooked nicely, it gives this pizza a crisp crust that is reminiscent of a cracker but still has some nice chew. Of course, I paired this one with my favorite berry hard cider, Rock’n Raspberry, which you can make yourself. The recipe can be found here. I like fruity hard ciders with breakfast food. You may remember another breakfast food post. For that party, I went with my Prickly Apple hard cider. The fresh raspberry on the nose with bacon, egg, and breakfast potatoes on a pizza worked really well. I suspect there is some skepticism out there, but I promise you, it works. Give it a try!
If you are not a cider drinker, I strongly encourage you to give it a try and you can’t find a better food to pair it with than pizza. Sourdough has a natural chew but you can also give it some crispness on the edges. This combined with cheese gives you the textures, fats, and proteins that just work so well with the acids, tannins, and flavors you find in hard cider. Plus, pizza is great to make with your family or friends. Crack open a hard cider before you start rolling out your dough and make it together. Pizza cooked on a hot (500F) stone only takes a few minutes to cook so part of the fun of eating pizza is making it together.
What pizza do you want to try or do you prefer with your hard cider? Do you have a hard cider that you love to have with pizza? What makes it work so well? I’d love to hear about them and I hope this post inspires you to make your own pairing. If you enjoy reading about cider and how to make and enjoy it, follow me.
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